Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday objected strongly to a statement by Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope that blamed the Central government for the insufficient supply of vaccines forcing the State government to discontinue the vaccination drive for the age group of 18 to 44.
Such a statement is misleading as responsibility to vaccinate the age group falls on the state. Instead of purchasing the required quota of vaccines from the open market the state is trying to put blame on the centre, which is a sheer lie, MLA Atul Bhakhalkar said.
As per the policy announced on April 21, the states can purchase 50 per cent vaccines produced in our country. But the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government did not bother to go for the tendering process. In the meantime, private hospitals procured the required quota for themselves and did carry their programme of vaccination. Similarly, the State could have purchased the required number of vaccines to continue its programme but why the government behaved in an irresponsible manner, Bhatkhalkar asked.
The state, which announces free vaccination on April 28, issues the government decision only on May 7 that too for 7.78 lakh vaccine doses when our requirement is for 12 crores, he alleged adding, deputy CM Ajit Pawar also played politics by telling publicly that he spoke on phone with Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawala for the supply of vaccines. At least for now, the state should tell us why it has not issued global tenders for the purchase of the vaccine doses. The state could not complete vaccination of the COVID warriors even as the nationwide vaccination programme began on January 16.
The Health Minister must speak about why a large number of doses were supplied to Jalna alone, demanded the BJP leader. The chaos reveals a different agenda in which people pay for vaccination at private hospitals and the state avoids purchase for free vaccination, he has alleged.